Cost of Living in London: A Comprehensive Guide
6 min

Cost of Living in London: A Comprehensive Guide

6 min
Uploaded on
Aug 8, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 14, 2023
Uploaded on
Aug 8, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 14, 2023
Cost of living in London: A comprehensive guide
Light on pocket, heavy on memories

Are you planning to move to London as a student anytime soon? Then it's a must for you to be aware of the various student living costs in London one has to incur. The city is celebrated and known for being a bit high-end, but with a properly planned budget and awareness, one can manage it quite well. Moving to the bustling UK capital is a significant endeavour. But while juggling your various decisions, it can be challenging to consider and research the different student living costs in London that you may have to pay regularly. With a detailed budget, you can plan and determine where you need to spend and where you can save. The costs are primarily determined by factors such as the student housing you rent, the mode of transportation you select, and your spending habits on groceries and other leisure activities. We have listed the factors affecting your overall budget and what you should focus on. So let's go through it one by one and understand!

Expensive or Reasonable?

Even though London takes the 6th position as one of the most expensive cities, your expenditure can also depend on what kind of lifestyle you acquire while there. The central element that hikes the overall cost of living in London is the cost of accommodation in the city. The recent rise in rents and general elevation in property rates in the UK has caused a disbalance in the budgets of people living in rental accommodations. Secondly, another facet contributing to an elevated budget is the cost borne while regularly commuting from one place to another. London is spread over a wide area. Travelling from your location to the city centre takes time and money and vice versa. But, with some advanced planning, you can make your way through these issues and make the city as affordable or expensive as you like. It is undoubtedly in your hand! The following are a few other elements that contribute to an increased budget and a few tips on how you can find a way through!

Living Expenses in London

Everyone's cost of living in London differs according to their interests, tastes, and preferences. They also include their way of life, which significantly impacts their bills. Here are some standard components that make up everyone’s cost of living in London:

1. Accommodation

As a student in London, the first thing you should be aware of is the type and cost of accommodation. To save money and time on complicated and expensive commuting, you must ensure that it is in a safe London neighbourhood close to your university/college campus. Student accommodation in London at an affordable price is challenging, but amber is here to make the process easier! We have different types of accommodation configurations to offer based on your preferences and at affordable prices. Amber offers various types of student accommodation in London including Ensuites, Non-Ensuites, Shared Rooms, Studios, and much more, all based on the student’s preferences starting at just £105/ week.

2. Food

Food takes a good chunk of your budget as it is a basic necessity for any human. Based on estimation, a student usually spends around £100-£300 per month. This is average for students who live in catered halls or cook their meals alone! You can bring down your food expenditure by following a few steps -

1. Cook and buy groceries along with your roommates. This will be effective as you can contribute and save instead of spending individually.
2. Buy from local markets since they are cheaper than giant supermarkets and multi-departmental stores.
3. Pack lunches and bring them with you to universities instead of eating lunch outside.

3. Transportation

As previously stated, London is a sprawling city where commuting from one location to another takes time and money. As much as that is true, one of the most significant benefits for students is the ability to obtain various discounts on their daily commutes. London Underground or London tubes, buses, trams, and taxis are the city's most efficient modes of transportation. If you purchase a Student Oyster Card as a student, you will receive 30% off standard Tube and bus fares. This can make commuting an affordable option for you. Full-time students can also get a young person railcard and a young person's coach card, which provide discounts and cashback on train and coach travel throughout the UK. 

4. University Tuition Fees

If you are a student in London, one of the significant living expenses in London to consider is your University's tuition fee. The average tuition fees for the prominent universities in the UK capital are listed below.

University of Oxford: between 1,985–94,800 GBP/year
University of Cambridge
: between 5,500–59,000 GBP/year
Imperial College London
: between 7,120–54,500 GBP/year
University College London
: between 7,770–36,900 GBP/year
London School of Economics and Political Science
: 5,830–61,180 GBP/year

If you wish to have comparatively lower tuition fees, don't worry! A few universities and colleges in London offer outstanding education at a lower price. They are incredibly affordable and offer bachelor's and Master's degrees at a fee of less than 10,000GBP/ year. This can be a game changer for you if you're looking to study in the UK on a budget. Following is a list of such institutions that offer premium education at lower costs to international students:

BPP University: Average tuition fees - 9000 GBP per year. This is the University to attend if you want to pursue a professional career in law, business, finance, accounting, banking, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, psychology, or healthcare.
University of West London
: Average tuition fees - 10,000 GBP/ year. The Guardian University League Table named this University the best modern University. As a student, you can participate in university activities and the opportunities life offers. The University provides students with all the academic knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed in their chosen careers.
Ulster University London Campus: 10,000 GBP / year. Ulster University London Campus is located in the heart of London. It offers four business-related courses, which include: Bachelor of Science in Business Studies, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Management, International Business Master's Degree, and Marketing Master's Degree.

5. Visa and Travel Costs

Being an international student, travelling back and forth to your home country is unavoidable. Also, you'll require a suitable student visa to stay in the UK for so long. All these procedures may also cost you an ample amount of money. Although the only relief is, these costs are only to be endured once a year on average. Applying for a student visa as an international citizen costs GBP 363 and around 490 GBP to extend or switch to a Student visa from within the United Kingdom. It costs around 704 GBP to travel from any international airport in India to London, UK.

6. Other miscellaneous expenses

You'll also need to consider how you'll pay for things like clothing, gym memberships, eating out, phone/internet bills, clubbing, and anything else you want to buy. In this case, let us tell you, there are various advantages a student in London has when they go shopping in London. You can try Totum, a card or app through which you can avail of multiple discounts while shopping for clothes and other accessories. Similarly, as a university student, you are eligible to avail of discounts through Groupon, Student Beans, and Unidays.

Work opportunities for international students

Studying abroad is always expensive. Even if you have a scholarship, a part-time job can help you live more conveniently during your studies. Fortunately, there are various opportunities for international students in London. You just need to know where to look. Part-time jobs can be the best alternative for students who wish to study and manage a job. This can allow them to earn some extra on the side, making it comfortable to maintain their living expenses in London. Part-time jobs for international students in London commonly include: 

1. Receptionist
2. Retail employee
3. Secret shopper
4. Packer of shelves
5. Waiter, barista, or bartender
6. Student representative
7. Library Assistant

How to save money living in London

As previously stated, even though London is known for being an expensive city, by making wiser choices, you can permanently save a few pennies and use them later when needed. There are numerous ways to save and plan a better budget to account for future uncertainties. 

1. Choose an reasonably priced housing in London after proper research.
2. Eat at home/ eat at reasonable restaurants.
3. Go to local markets and work on your bargaining skills! 
4. Utilise the student discounts .
5. Set a limit on your expenditures on unnecessary items.
6. Travel around using your Oyster Cards and choose public transportation.
7. Explore the city by visiting places that don't charge any entrance fee like parks and museums

London may be the city of many people's dreams, but it's also an expensive place to live, particularly if you're a student. We are aware that residing in a different nation with a monetary and financial system that is entirely different from your native country can be very taxing on your finances. Nevertheless, this issue is easily fixable with some forethought and persistence. We hope this concise blog post has helped you better understand the cost of living in London. With the aforementioned advice, you can have a great time in London, save a tonne of money, and make your stay much more comfortable.